By Robert Halsey Pine
“I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you have received and heard; obey it and repent. If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” (Revelation 3:1-6 NRSV).
This part of The Revelation to John nudges us and reminds us that we have work to do. Our works are not perfect in the sight of God and we are not fully alive. We have received and heard many things from Him and we have not obeyed Him. We must repent and return to the Lord. Christ Jesus will deliver us to His Father and the angels. The Holy Spirit is speaking to us.
Today is my birthday. As I reflect upon my life, I see a traveler. I see all the years of this traveler’s journey capsulated and easily viewed from the start to the present. I see a newly-created, spirit-filled baby reacting to the stimuli of his environment. I see this traveling child enjoying the warmth of love around him. As he grows and moves I see him resisting the discipline forced on him by the same ones that had been loving him.
As the traveler moves toward manhood, I see him dealing with the confusion of the mixture of love and discipline. Uncertain about what is all behind this he feels strong enough to move out on his own. That feels good to him. He begins to feel a high from this sense of being in control of his travel.
He comes upon some breaks in the path but his new found sense of control helps him to leap over these breaks. He encounters other travelers along the way. Some seem kind like his home folks and give him good advice, while others try to test him. He begins to find more and larger breaks in the path. More and more other travelers come and interfere with his journey.
The traveler begins to stumble and fall. His sense of control of things becomes shaky. He reflects back upon the warm spirit and love at the beginning of his journey. There is more disruption on the path and he wants to turn around and go back to the beginning where he felt loved and warm. He is losing control.
An Angel of God appears on the path and speaks to him. The angel reminds him that he had all that he needed back at the beginning of his journey. His life was a gift from God. The warmth and love and discipline that he felt then was God working through the Spirit as manifested in others to assure his safe passage and return. The traveler repented and returned to the Lord as his source, feeling older and wiser and loved.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.